Dear TIS Community,

Wow, what a week! The CIS visit is finished, and we can now get some rest and relaxation during Golden Week.

I believe that the CIS Evaluation Visit was a resounding success. We chose to go through the process of accreditation in order to give us a chance to examine in detail the factors that contribute to good teaching and learning in our school, to find ways to improve the school that will have a direct impact on teaching and learning, and to communicate the nature and the quality of our school to the members of our immediate school community, and the wider world around us (the local governments in Tsukuba and Ibaraki, other international schools, universities, investors/donors, etc.).

This process has given us the opportunity to examine our attitudes, documentation, and practices in great detail, and has given us many, many opportunities to reflect on our current state and think carefully and deeply about what we need to do to make our school even better in the future. Even before the visitors arrived from all over the world, we had been through a rigourous process of evaluating ourselves through the self-study, and had already started to make various major improvements to our school. (In fact, it was hard sometimes to find a balance between focusing on completing the self-study and implementing the improvements that we identified through the study itself!)

I believe that the visitors were able to get a good sense of our school, and that the report that will come out of this visit will be fair and relevant. In fact, Mr. Congreve and I were given a chance to read the final report on the last day of the visit, and to correct any inconsistencies or factual errors that we noted. Of course, we were not told the final decision, as that is up to the CIS Board, and will be announced within the next six weeks. We will, of course, share the decision with the school community as soon as it is announced.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank not only all of the people who were involved in the self-study and the visit, but all of the people who have played a role in getting the school to where it is today. In the ten years that I have been with the school, we have gone from a total school population of four (4!) to our current population of 237. We have gained authorization for the three IB programmes (PYP, MYP, and DP) in this time. We have increased our school staff from five (yes, we had more staff members than students at first!) to over forty. We have developed our curriculum, and created and implemented countless policies and procedures (not to mention all the changes we have had to make to them every time we increase our school population!).

We have come a huge distance since April 1, 2008 (when I first joined the school as a full-time staff member). The school that we were at that time is different in almost every way from the school that we are now, except for the strong and unmistakable community spirit that has led us from strength to strength over those years. As Mr. Bennetts said at the reception that opened the evaluation visit, ours is a very unique school, and we should be proud of what makes us stand out from the others: our strong, but compassionate community, centered in nature.

Our school has been on a long and interesting journey over the past ten years, and I am sure you share my excitement in seeing where we go from here!

I hope you have a fun and relaxing Golden Week, and that we can enjoy the last six weeks of this school year together.

Sincerely,
Shaney Crawford
Principal
Tsukuba International School